人力资源走向敏捷--HR Goes Agile
当网络和移动技术影响到了银行业，消费者越来越意识到他们要为自己做些什么，他们逐渐接受了全球银行集团首席执行官Ralph Hamers的观点，“Banking on the go.”
敏捷不仅仅是为了技术而已。它一直在进入其他领域和功能，从产品开发到制造到营销 - 现在它正在改变组织如何雇用，开发和管理他们的员工。
到了20世纪90年代，由于企业变得难以预测，企业需要快速获得新技能，传统方法开始弯曲 - 但并没有完全突破。为了获得更大的灵活性，从外部进行横向招聘取代了大量的内部开发和促销活动。“宽带”补偿为管理者提供了更大的自由度来奖励员工在角色中的成长和成就。然而，大多数情况下，旧模式依然存在。像其他职能一样，人力资源部门仍然是围绕着长期而建立的 继续进行员工队伍和继任计划，尽管经济和业务的变化常常使这些计划无关紧要。尽管几乎普遍不满，但年度评估仍在继续。
因为人力资源涉及组织的每个方面 - 每个员工 - 所以它的敏捷转型可能比其他功能的变化更为广泛（也更困难）。公司正在重新设计他们在以下领域的人才实践：
自从学习这一艰难的教训以来，许多组织都转向频繁进行绩效评估，而且经常按项目逐项进行。这一变化已经蔓延到包括零售（Gap），大制药（Pfizer），保险（Cigna），投资（OppenheimerFunds），消费品（P＆G）和会计（所有四大公司）等多个行业。它在通用电气，整个公司的业务范围以及IBM都是最有名的。总的来说，重点是全年提供更为即时的反馈，以便团队可以变得灵活，“过程正确”的错误，提高绩效并通过迭代学习 - 所有关键的敏捷原则。
DigitalOcean是一家专注于软件即服务（SaaS）基础架构的纽约新创公司，现场聘请全职专业教练帮助所有经理向员工提供更好的反馈，并且更广泛地说，可以开发内部指导功能。这个想法是，一旦经历了良好的教练，就会成为更好的教练。并不是每个人都可以成为一名优秀的教练 - 公司中那些喜欢编码教练的人可以在技术职业生涯中前进 - 但教练技能被认为是管理职业生涯的核心。
传统人力资源侧重于个人 - 他们的目标，绩效和需求。但是现在有那么多公司按项目组织他们的工作项目，他们的管理和人才系统正在变得更加专注于团队。团队通过Scrum创建，执行和修改他们的目标和任务 - 在团队层面上，现在正在快速适应新信息。（“Scrum”可能是敏捷词典中最着名的术语它来自于橄榄球，玩家紧紧围在一起重新开始游戏）。他们也在自己追踪自己的进步，找出障碍，评估他们的领导力，并且获得关于如何提高表现的见解。
在敏捷组织中，员工对团队领导和主管的“向上”反馈也很受重视。Mitre公司的非营利研究中心已采取措施鼓励它，但他们发现这需要集中精力。他们开始定期进行机密的员工调查和焦点小组，以发现人们想与管理人员讨论哪些问题。然后人力资源部门将这些数据提供给主管，通过直接报告来通知他们的谈话。然而，员工们最初不愿意提供反馈意见 - 尽管它是匿名的，仅用于开发目的 - 因为他们不习惯表达他们对管理层所做事情的看法。
由于反馈流向团队的所有方向，因此许多公司都使用技术来管理团队的数量。应用程序允许主管，同事和客户从任何地方立即给予反馈。最重要的是，主管可以稍后下载所有评论，当时是评估的时候。在一些应用程序中，员工和主管可以对目标进行评分; 至少有一个可以帮助管理人员分析像Slack这样的项目管理平台上的对话，以提供合作反馈。思科利用专有技术收集员工每周的原始数据或“面包屑”，了解他们同行的表现。这些工具使管理者能够看到随着时间的推移个人表现的波动，即使在团队内部也是如此 当然，这些应用程序并不提供正式的性能记录，员工可能希望面对面讨论问题，以避免将问题记录在可下载的文件中。我们知道，企业认可并奖励改进以及实际表现，但隐藏问题并不总是为员工付出代价。
前线决策权。团队的根本转变也影响了决策权：组织正在将他们推向前线，为员工提供装备并赋予其独立性。但这是一个巨大的行为改变，人们需要支持才能实现。让我们回到蒙特利尔银行的例子来说明它如何工作。当BMO引入敏捷团队来设计一些新的客户服务时，高层领导者还没有准备好放弃控制权，而且他们下面的人不习惯接受。所以银行在业务团队中嵌入了敏捷教练。他们首先通过“回顾” - 包括高层管理人员 - 每次迭代后举行定期反思和反馈会议。这些是行动后评论的敏捷版本; 他们的目的是不断改进流程。
补偿也被用来加强敏捷价值，如学习和知识共享。例如，在初创的世界里，在线服装租赁公司Rent the Runway分出了不同的奖金，将这笔钱滚到基本工资。首席执行官詹妮弗海曼报告说，奖金计划正在接受诚实的同行反馈。员工并没有分享建设性的批评意见，他们知道这会给他们的同事带来负面的经济后果。海曼说，新系统通过“解开两者”来防止这个问题。
为了保持事情的顺利进行，团队专注于解决所有障碍的职位空缺 - 如果辩论仍在继续讨论候选人的期望属性，则无需开始工作。职位空缺被排名，并且团队专注于最优先的员工，直至他们完成。它可以同时雇佣多名雇员，以便成员可以分享有关可能更适合其他角色的候选人的信息。该团队跟踪其填充职位的周期时间，并监控看板上的所有未决申请，以确定瓶颈和被阻止的流程。IBM现在采用类似的招聘方式。
IBM使用人工智能来产生这样的建议，从员工的简介开始，包括先前和当前的角色，预期的职业轨迹以及完成的培训计划。该公司还为敏捷环境创建了特殊培训 - 例如，使用围绕一系列“角色”构建的动画模拟来说明有用的行为，例如提供建设性的批评。
传统上，L＆D将继任计划包括在内 - 是自上而下的长期思维的缩影，由此人们提前几年挑选出最重要的领导角色，通常希望他们能够按计划发展某些能力。不过，世界往往不能与这些计划合作。公司经常发现，在高级领导职位开放之时，他们的需求已经发生了变化。最常见的解决方案是忽略计划并从头开始搜索。但是，无论如何组织通常会继续进行长期的继任计划。（大约一半的大公司有计划为顶尖工作开发接班人。）百事可乐公司通过缩短时间框架，从这个模型中脱身而出。
即使他们合适，他们也可能遇到阻力 - 尤其是在人力资源部门。许多流程必须改变，让组织摆脱基于规划的“瀑布”模型（这是线性的而不是灵活的和适应性的），并且其中一些流程被硬连接到信息系统，职位名称等等。向独立发生的基于云计算的IT迈进，使采用基于应用的工具变得更加容易。但人们的问题仍然是一个棘手的问题。许多人力资源工作，例如传统的招聘，入职和计划协调方法，将会变得过时，这些领域的专业知识也会过时。
人力资源职能也需要重新培训。它需要更多的IT支持方面的专业知识 - 尤其是考虑到新应用程序产生的所有性能数据 - 以及对团队和实际操作监督的深入了解。近几十年来，人力资源并没有像它所支持的生产线一样改变。但是现在压力已经开始了，它来自于经营层面，这使得坚守旧的人才实践变得更加困难。
采用敏捷人才实践的公司正在对员工如何体验工作场所给予很多思考 - 在某些方面，将他们视为客户。IBM首席人力资源官Diane Gherson最近与HBR讨论了这个标志性科技公司如何改变其业务模式，这是如何发生的。编辑摘录如下。
员工入职是一个很好的例子 - 我们非常认真地看待第一个流程。我们知道我们希望人们走出去思考，“我很高兴我在这里，我明白我需要知道要走的路。”但是我们开始太小了。我们以一种传统的方式接近了它，所有这些都是关于你的第一天的体验。一旦我们开始询问新员工他们的入职情况如何，我们听到了诸如“我没有及时拿到笔记本电脑”，或者“我无法及时获得我的信用卡来参加我的第一次会议”或“我在访问内部网络时遇到了问题。“所有这些都会影响到有人加入公司的感觉。
人们现在在手机和平板电脑上消费内容 - 他们使用YouTube和TED会谈来加快他们不知道的事情。所以我们不得不放弃传统的学习管理体系，对教育和发展有不同的想法。再次，我们引进了我们的千禧一代，引入了我们的用户，并且为我们的380,000名IBM员工中的每一位提供了个性化的学习平台。
我们测量人力资源服务，如使用净推动力分数进行学习 - 这是不可抗拒体验的终极指标。之前，我们使用了经典的五点满意度量表。即使有人给你评分3.1，你最终会说他们很满意，而对于Net Promoter来说，你必须处于最后的规模，因为你必须减去所有的反对者。要做到这一点很难，它会给你提供更好的人们反馈信息。为了学习，最后我们的NPS为60.这是在“优秀”范围内，但当然还有改进的空间。
通过Watson Analytics，我们能够从公司内部的数字足迹中推断出人们的专业知识，并将其与他们应该在其特定工作家庭中的位置进行比较。该系统是认知的，所以它知道你 - 它已经摄入了关于你的技能的数据，并能够给你个性化的学习建议。它会告诉你，“好的，你需要增加这些领域的深度 - 这里有一些产品可以帮助你做到这一点。”然后，你可以将它们固定在日历中，或者排列在日历中以备将来学习。该系统还研究了您可能距离获得数字徽章有多近，我们在过去几年中已经开始使用该徽章来展示哪些员工应用了技能。该工具可帮助您通过推荐特定的网络研讨会和内部和外部课程来实现徽章。这全都基于人工智能。在这一点上，技能推论的准确率大约为96％。
如你所知，绩效管理在大多数公司中都是一种避雷针。而不是做典型的事情 - 这将是做一些基准测试，集合一批专家，提出新设计并试用它 - 我们决定全力以赴和我们的员工共同创造一种延长的黑客马拉松。我们使用了设计思维，提出了你可能被描述为“概念车”的东西 - 这是人们试驾和踢轮胎的东西，而不是仅仅处理概念。我们在2015年夏天做到了这一点，并在五个月后在整个公司实施。这就是让全体员工参与的力量 - 人们在掌握变化时不太可能抵制变革。
起初有人说：“这真是一个骗局 - 你已经知道你想做什么。”但我们解释说我们真的想听到他们的消息，并且我们把他们带到了各种讨论论坛。这花了一段时间，但我想我们确实把他们转过来了。我们不断沟通，说：“好吧，你喜欢这个; 你不喜欢那样。这里是你不能同意的地方。“与此同时，我们正在组装原型来向人们展示。
情绪分析在人们总是在线评论的世界中非常有用。我们的认知技术着眼于人们选择的语言并提取语气。它确定它是正面的还是负面的，然后再深入，说明它是强烈的还是强烈的消极的。这样看起来就像看音乐 - 看看哪里有很高的音符或很低的音符很响。它始终在我们的防火墙之后，永远不会外部。它不会查看任何人传递的信息或电子邮件内容或浏览行为。它只是在他们的博客和防火墙内的评论中看到语气。
是。现在对组织内部的内容给予更多的重视，因为它也可以通过社交媒体在外面听到。Glassdoor就是一个很好的例子。在过去，你可能有一些公司不适合工作，但只有一小部分人知道。现在全世界都知道这件事，因为它在Glassdoor上 - 这使得公司变成了玻璃屋。人们可以看看发生了什么，并以他们以前无法做到的方式判断他们是否想在那里工作。
让我们回过头来看看IBM向敏捷人才实践转变的背后的商业原因 - 您能否更多地谈论这些？
我提到客户满意度。今天的客户正在寻找前所未有的速度和响应能力。在较早的时代，他们真正想要的是最好的产品，最好的价格 - 效率很重要，但速度并不如此。
由Dominic Barton，Dennis Carey和Ram Charan撰写
到2014年，与ING零售客户的所有互动中约有40％通过移动应用程序进入。（现在这个数字已经接近60％了 - 分支机构的访问量和联系中心的呼叫数已经下降到1％以下）。即便移动客户希望能够随时随地轻松访问最新的信息。例如，某人在乘火车回家的路上，他开始进行贷款交易，希望能够在当晚的桌面上继续使用。“我们的客户将大部分在线时间花费在Facebook和Netflix等平台上，”Hamers说。“这些为用户体验设定了标准。”
创建了13个部落来解决特定的领域，例如抵押服务，证券和私人银行业务。每个部落最多可容纳150人。（例如，销售，服务和支持职能部门的员工在这种结构之外工作 - 例如在较小的客户忠诚团队中工作 - 但他们与部落合作）。并且每个部门都有领导者确定优先事项，分配预算并确保知识和见解在部落内部和部落之间共享。
部落领导还有另外一项重要责任：通过部落成员的投入，创建由九人或更少人组成的自我指导小组，通过交付和维护新产品和服务来解决特定客户需求。这些小组是跨学科的 - 通常由营销专家，数据分析师，用户体验设计师，IT工程师和产品专家组成。一名小队成员被指定为“产品负责人”，负责协调活动并确定优先事项。只要满足客户的需求，团队就会一直呆在一起 - 无论是提高移动应用程序的用户体验还是构建特定功能。有些任务在两周内完成; 其他人可能需要18个月。有时候团队解散，成员加入其他团队。最经常，
然后是章节，它们协调同一学科的成员 - 数据分析或者系统过程 - 分散在班组中。章节负责人负责跟踪和分享最佳实践以及诸如专业开发和绩效评估之类的内容。即使在省去了耗时的交接和官僚作风的情况下，也可以将章节看作是保留传统管理的有用部分的一种方式。
这些保障措施有助于抵消ING荷兰公司现任首席执行官Vincent van den Boogert（以及启动新组织结构的团队的一部分）所认为的基于班组系统的两大挑战。一个是自负的小队主要响应客户的需求可能会采取与公司战略不同步的变化。QBRs可以缓解这种风险。第二个挑战有点违反直觉。自我评估小组有时满足于他们每两周进行的渐进式改进。QBR也在这方面提供帮助，因为高层管理人员使用它们来制定和加强延伸目标。
HR Goes Agile
by Peter Cappelli & Anna Tavis
Agile isn’t just for tech anymore. It’s been working its way into other areas and functions, from product development to manufacturing to marketing—and now it’s transforming how organizations hire, develop, and manage their people.
You could say HR is going “agile lite,” applying the general principles without adopting all the tools and protocols from the tech world. It’s a move away from a rules- and planning-based approach toward a simpler and faster model driven by feedback from participants. This new paradigm has really taken off in the area of performance management. (In a 2017 Deloitte survey, 79% of global executives rated agile performance management as a high organizational priority.) But other HR processes are starting to change too.
In many companies that’s happening gradually, almost organically, as a spillover from IT, where more than 90% of organizations already use agile practices. At the Bank of Montreal (BMO), for example, the shift began as tech employees joined cross-functional product-development teams to make the bank more customer focused. The business side has learned agile principles from IT colleagues, and IT has learned about customer needs from the business. One result is that BMO now thinks about performance management in terms of teams, not just individuals. Elsewhere the move to agile HR has been faster and more deliberate. GE is a prime example. Seen for many years as a paragon of management through control systems, it switched to FastWorks, a lean approach that cuts back on top-down financial controls and empowers teams to manage projects as needs evolve.
The changes in HR have been a long time coming. After World War II, when manufacturing dominated the industrial landscape, planning was at the heart of human resources: Companies recruited lifers, gave them rotational assignments to support their development, groomed them years in advance to take on bigger and bigger roles, and tied their raises directly to each incremental move up the ladder. The bureaucracy was the point: Organizations wanted their talent practices to be rules-based and internally consistent so that they could reliably meet five-year (and sometimes 15-year) plans. That made sense. Every other aspect of companies, from core businesses to administrative functions, took the long view in their goal setting, budgeting, and operations. HR reflected and supported what they were doing.
By the 1990s, as business became less predictable and companies needed to acquire new skills fast, that traditional approach began to bend—but it didn’t quite break. Lateral hiring from the outside—to get more flexibility—replaced a good deal of the internal development and promotions. “Broadband” compensation gave managers greater latitude to reward people for growth and achievement within roles. For the most part, though, the old model persisted. Like other functions, HR was still built around the long term. Workforce and succession planning carried on, even though changes in the economy and in the business often rendered those plans irrelevant. Annual appraisals continued, despite almost universal dissatisfaction with them.
Now we’re seeing a more sweeping transformation. Why is this the moment for it? Because rapid innovation has become a strategic imperative for most companies, not just a subset. To get it, businesses have looked to Silicon Valley and to software companies in particular, emulating their agile practices for managing projects. So top-down planning models are giving way to nimbler, user-driven methods that are better suited for adapting in the near term, such as rapid prototyping, iterative feedback, team-based decisions, and task-centered “sprints.” As BMO’s chief transformation officer, Lynn Roger, puts it, “Speed is the new business currency.”
With the business justification for the old HR systems gone and the agile playbook available to copy, people management is finally getting its long-awaited overhaul too. In this article we’ll illustrate some of the profound changes companies are making in their talent practices and describe the challenges they face in their transition to agile HR.
Where We’re Seeing the Biggest Changes
Because HR touches every aspect—and every employee—of an organization, its agile transformation may be even more extensive (and more difficult) than the changes in other functions. Companies are redesigning their talent practices in the following areas:
When businesses adopted agile methods in their core operations, they dropped the charade of trying to plan a year or more in advance how projects would go and when they would end. So in many cases the first traditional HR practice to go was the annual performance review, along with employee goals that “cascaded” down from business and unit objectives each year. As individuals worked on shorter-term projects of various lengths, often run by different leaders and organized around teams, the notion that performance feedback would come once a year, from one boss, made little sense. They needed more of it, more often, from more people.
An early-days CEB survey suggested that people actually got less feedback and support when their employers dropped annual reviews. However, that’s because many companies put nothing in their place. Managers felt no pressing need to adopt a new feedback model and shifted their attention to other priorities. But dropping appraisals without a plan to fill the void was of course a recipe for failure.
Since learning that hard lesson, many organizations have switched to frequent performance assessments, often conducted project by project. This change has spread to a number of industries, including retail (Gap), big pharma (Pfizer), insurance (Cigna), investing (OppenheimerFunds), consumer products (P&G), and accounting (all Big Four firms). It is most famous at GE, across the firm’s range of businesses, and at IBM. Overall, the focus is on delivering more-immediate feedback throughout the year so that teams can become nimbler, “course-correct” mistakes, improve performance, and learn through iteration—all key agile principles.
In user-centered fashion, managers and employees have had a hand in shaping, testing, and refining new processes. For instance, Johnson & Johnson offered its businesses the chance to participate in an experiment: They could try out a new continual-feedback process, using a customized app with which employees, peers, and bosses could exchange comments in real time.
The new process was an attempt to move away from J&J’s event-driven “five conversations” framework (which focused on goal setting, career discussion, a midyear performance review, a year-end appraisal, and a compensation review) and toward a model of ongoing dialogue. Those who tried it were asked to share how well everything worked, what the bugs were, and so on. The experiment lasted three months. At first only 20% of the managers in the pilot actively participated. The inertia from prior years of annual appraisals was hard to overcome. But then the company used training to show managers what good feedback could look like and designated “change champions” to model the desired behaviors on their teams. By the end of the three months, 46% of managers in the pilot group had joined in, exchanging 3,000 pieces of feedback.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, a fast-growing biotech company, is going even further with its appraisals overhaul. Michelle Weitzman-Garcia, Regeneron’s head of workforce development, argued that the performance of the scientists working on drug development, the product supply group, the field sales force, and the corporate functions should not be measured on the same cycle or in the same way. She observed that these employee groups needed varying feedback and that they even operated on different calendars.
Why Intuit’s Transition to Agile Almost Stalled Out
So the company created four distinct appraisal processes, tailored to the various groups’ needs. The research scientists and postdocs, for example, crave metrics and are keen on assessing competencies, so they meet with managers twice a year for competency evaluations and milestones reviews. Customer-facing groups include feedback from clients and customers in their assessments. Although having to manage four separate processes adds complexity, they all reinforce the new norm of continual feedback. And Weitzman-Garcia says the benefits to the organization far outweigh the costs to HR.
The companies that most effectively adopt agile talent practices invest in sharpening managers’ coaching skills. Supervisors at Cigna go through “coach” training designed for busy managers: It’s broken into weekly 90-minute videos that can be viewed as people have time. The supervisors also engage in learning sessions, which, like “learning sprints” in agile project management, are brief and spread out to allow individuals to reflect and test-drive new skills on the job. Peer-to-peer feedback is incorporated in Cigna’s manager training too: Colleagues form learning cohorts to share ideas and tactics. They’re having the kinds of conversations companies want supervisors to have with their direct reports, but they feel freer to share mistakes with one another, without the fear of “evaluation” hanging over their heads.
DigitalOcean, a New York–based start-up focused on software as a service (SaaS) infrastructure, engages a full-time professional coach on-site to help all managers give better feedback to employees and, more broadly, to develop internal coaching capabilities. The idea is that once one experiences good coaching, one becomes a better coach. Not everyone is expected to become a great coach—those in the company who prefer coding to coaching can advance along a technical career track—but coaching skills are considered central to a managerial career.
P&G, too, is intent on making managers better coaches. That’s part of a larger effort to rebuild training and development for supervisors and enhance their role in the organization. By simplifying the performance review process, separating evaluation from development discussions, and eliminating talent calibration sessions (the arbitrary horse trading between supervisors that often comes with a subjective and politicized ranking model), P&G has freed up a lot of time to devote to employees’ growth. But getting supervisors to move from judging employees to coaching them in their day-to-day work has been a challenge in P&G’s tradition-rich culture. So the company has invested heavily in training supervisors on topics such as how to establish employees’ priorities and goals, how to provide feedback about contributions, and how to align employees’ career aspirations with business needs and learning and development plans. The bet is that building employees’ capabilities and relationships with supervisors will increase engagement and therefore help the company innovate and move faster. Even though the jury is still out on the companywide culture shift, P&G is already reporting improvements in these areas, at all levels of management.
Traditional HR focused on individuals—their goals, their performance, their needs. But now that so many companies are organizing their work project by project, their management and talent systems are becoming more team focused. Groups are creating, executing, and revising their goals and tasks with scrums—at the team level, in the moment, to adapt quickly to new information as it comes in. (“Scrum” may be the best-known term in the agile lexicon. It comes from rugby, where players pack tightly together to restart play.) They are also taking it upon themselves to track their own progress, identify obstacles, assess their leadership, and generate insights about how to improve performance.
In that context, organizations must learn to contend with:
Multidirectional feedback. Peer feedback is essential to course corrections and employee development in an agile environment, because team members know better than anyone else what each person is contributing. It’s rarely a formal process, and comments are generally directed to the employee, not the supervisor. That keeps input constructive and prevents the undermining of colleagues that sometimes occurs in hypercompetitive workplaces.
But some executives believe that peer feedback should have an impact on performance evaluations. Diane Gherson, IBM’s head of HR, explains that “the relationships between managers and employees change in the context of a network [the collection of projects across which employees work].” Because an agile environment makes it practically impossible to “monitor” performance in the old sense, managers at IBM solicit input from others to help them identify and address issues early on. Unless it’s sensitive, that input is shared in the team’s daily stand-up meetings and captured in an app. Employees may choose whether to include managers and others in their comments to peers. The risk of cutthroat behavior is mitigated by the fact that peer comments to the supervisor also go to the team. Anyone trying to undercut colleagues will be exposed.
In agile organizations, “upward” feedback from employees to team leaders and supervisors is highly valued too. The Mitre Corporation’s not-for-profit research centers have taken steps to encourage it, but they’re finding that this requires concentrated effort. They started with periodic confidential employee surveys and focus groups to discover which issues people wanted to discuss with their managers. HR then distilled that data for supervisors to inform their conversations with direct reports. However, employees were initially hesitant to provide upward feedback—even though it was anonymous and was used for development purposes only—because they weren’t accustomed to voicing their thoughts about what management was doing.
Mitre also learned that the most critical factor in getting subordinates to be candid was having managers explicitly say that they wanted and appreciated comments. Otherwise people might worry, reasonably, that their leaders weren’t really open to feedback and ready to apply it. As with any employee survey, soliciting upward feedback and not acting on it has a diminishing effect on participation; it erodes the hard-earned trust between employees and their managers. When Mitre’s new performance-management and feedback process began, the CEO acknowledged that the research centers would need to iterate and make improvements. A revised system for upward feedback will roll out this year.
Because feedback flows in all directions on teams, many companies use technology to manage the sheer volume of it. Apps allow supervisors, coworkers, and clients to give one another immediate feedback from wherever they are. Crucially, supervisors can download all the comments later on, when it’s time to do evaluations. In some apps, employees and supervisors can score progress on goals; at least one helps managers analyze conversations on project management platforms like Slack to provide feedback on collaboration. Cisco uses proprietary technology to collect weekly raw data, or “breadcrumbs,” from employees about their peers’ performance. Such tools enable managers to see fluctuations in individual performance over time, even within teams. The apps don’t provide an official record of performance, of course, and employees may want to discuss problems face-to-face to avoid having them recorded in a file that can be downloaded. We know that companies recognize and reward improvement as well as actual performance, however, so hiding problems may not always pay off for employees.
Frontline decision rights. The fundamental shift toward teams has also affected decision rights: Organizations are pushing them down to the front lines, equipping and empowering employees to operate more independently. But that’s a huge behavioral change, and people need support to pull it off. Let’s return to the Bank of Montreal example to illustrate how it can work. When BMO introduced agile teams to design some new customer services, senior leaders weren’t quite ready to give up control, and the people under them were not used to taking it. So the bank embedded agile coaches in business teams. They began by putting everyone, including high-level executives, through “retrospectives”—regular reflection and feedback sessions held after each iteration. These are the agile version of after-action reviews; their purpose is to keep improving processes. Because the retrospectives quickly identified concrete successes, failures, and root causes, senior leaders at BMO immediately recognized their value, which helped them get on board with agile generally and loosen their grip on decision making.
Complex team dynamics. Finally, since the supervisor’s role has moved away from just managing individuals and toward the much more complicated task of promoting productive, healthy team dynamics, people often need help with that, too. Cisco’s special Team Intelligence unit provides that kind of support. It’s charged with identifying the company’s best-performing teams, analyzing how they operate, and helping other teams learn how to become more like them. It uses an enterprise-wide platform called Team Space, which tracks data on team projects, needs, and achievements to both measure and improve what teams are doing within units and across the company.
Pay is changing as well. A simple adaptation to agile work, seen in retail companies such as Macy’s, is to use spot bonuses to recognize contributions when they happen rather than rely solely on end-of-year salary increases. Research and practice have shown that compensation works best as a motivator when it comes as soon as possible after the desired behavior. Instant rewards reinforce instant feedback in a powerful way. Annual merit-based raises are less effective, because too much time goes by.
Patagonia has actually eliminated annual raises for its knowledge workers. Instead the company adjusts wages for each job much more frequently, according to research on where market rates are going. Increases can also be allocated when employees take on more-difficult projects or go above and beyond in other ways. The company retains a budget for the top 1% of individual contributors, and supervisors can make a case for any contribution that merits that designation, including contributions to teams.
Upward feedback from employees to team leaders is valued in agile organizations.
Compensation is also being used to reinforce agile values such as learning and knowledge sharing. In the start-up world, for instance, the online clothing-rental company Rent the Runway dropped separate bonuses, rolling the money into base pay. CEO Jennifer Hyman reports that the bonus program was getting in the way of honest peer feedback. Employees weren’t sharing constructive criticism, knowing it could have negative financial consequences for their colleagues. The new system prevents that problem by “untangling the two, ” Hyman says.
DigitalOcean redesigned its rewards to promote equitable treatment of employees and a culture of collaboration. Salary adjustments now happen twice a year to respond to changes in the outside labor market and in jobs and performance. More important, DigitalOcean has closed gaps in pay for equivalent work. It’s deliberately heading off internal rivalry, painfully aware of the problems in hypercompetitive cultures (think Microsoft and Amazon). To personalize compensation, the firm maps where people are having impact in their roles and where they need to grow and develop. The data on individuals’ impact on the business is a key factor in discussions about pay. Negotiating to raise your own salary is fiercely discouraged. And only the top 1% of achievement is rewarded financially; otherwise, there is no merit-pay process. All employees are eligible for bonuses, which are based on company performance rather than individual contributions. To further support collaboration, DigitalOcean is diversifying its portfolio of rewards to include nonfinancial, meaningful gifts, such as a Kindle loaded with the CEO’s “best books” picks.
How does DigitalOcean motivate people to perform their best without inflated financial rewards? Matt Hoffman, its vice president of people, says it focuses on creating a culture that inspires purpose and creativity. So far that seems to be working. The latest engagement survey, via Culture Amp, ranks DigitalOcean 17 points above the industry benchmark in satisfaction with compensation.
With the improvements in the economy since the Great Recession, recruiting and hiring have become more urgent—and more agile. To scale up quickly in 2015, GE’s new digital division pioneered some interesting recruiting experiments. For instance, a cross-functional team works together on all hiring requisitions. A “head count manager” represents the interests of internal stakeholders who want their positions filled quickly and appropriately. Hiring managers rotate on and off the team, depending on whether they’re currently hiring, and a scrum master oversees the process.
To keep things moving, the team focuses on vacancies that have cleared all the hurdles—no req’s get started if debate is still ongoing about the desired attributes of candidates. Openings are ranked, and the team concentrates on the top-priority hires until they are completed. It works on several hires at once so that members can share information about candidates who may fit better in other roles. The team keeps track of its cycle time for filling positions and monitors all open requisitions on a kanban board to identify bottlenecks and blocked processes. IBM now takes a similar approach to recruitment.
Companies are also relying more heavily on technology to find and track candidates who are well suited to an agile work environment. GE, IBM, and Cisco are working with the vendor Ascendify to create software that does just this. The IT recruiting company HackerRank offers an online tool for the same purpose.
Learning and development.
Like hiring, L&D had to change to bring new skills into organizations more quickly. Most companies already have a suite of online learning modules that employees can access on demand. Although helpful for those who have clearly defined needs, this is a bit like giving a student the key to a library and telling her to figure out what she must know and then learn it. Newer approaches use data analysis to identify the skills required for particular jobs and for advancement and then suggest to individual employees what kinds of training and future jobs make sense for them, given their experience and interests.
IBM uses artificial intelligence to generate such advice, starting with employees’ profiles, which include prior and current roles, expected career trajectory, and training programs completed. The company has also created special training for agile environments—using, for example, animated simulations built around a series of “personas” to illustrate useful behaviors, such as offering constructive criticism.
What HR Can Learn from Tech
Traditionally, L&D has included succession planning—the epitome of top-down, long-range thinking, whereby individuals are picked years in advance to take on the most crucial leadership roles, usually in the hope that they will develop certain capabilities on schedule. The world often fails to cooperate with those plans, though. Companies routinely find that by the time senior leadership positions open up, their needs have changed. The most common solution is to ignore the plan and start a search from scratch. But organizations often continue doing long-term succession planning anyway. (About half of large companies have a plan to develop successors for the top job.) Pepsi is one company taking a simple step away from this model by shortening the time frame. It provides brief quarterly updates on the development of possible successors—in contrast to the usual annual updates—and delays appointments so that they happen closer to when successors are likely to step into their roles.
To be sure, not every organization or group is in hot pursuit of rapid innovation. Some jobs must remain largely rules based. (Consider the work that accountants, nuclear control-room operators, and surgeons do.) In such cases agile talent practices may not make sense.
And even when they’re appropriate, they may meet resistance—especially within HR. A lot of processes have to change for an organization to move away from a planning-based, “waterfall” model (which is linear rather than flexible and adaptive), and some of them are hardwired into information systems, job titles, and so forth. The move toward cloud-based IT, which is happening independently, has made it easier to adopt app-based tools. But people issues remain a sticking point. Many HR tasks, such as traditional approaches to recruitment, onboarding, and program coordination, will become obsolete, as will expertise in those areas.
Meanwhile, new tasks are being created. Helping supervisors replace judging with coaching is a big challenge not just in terms of skills but also because it undercuts their status and formal authority. Shifting the focus of management from individuals to teams may be even more difficult, because team dynamics can be a black box to those who are still struggling to understand how to coach individuals. The big question is whether companies can help managers take all this on and see the value in it.
The HR function will also require reskilling. It will need more expertise in IT support—especially given all the performance data generated by the new apps—and deeper knowledge about teams and hands-on supervision. HR has not had to change in recent decades nearly as much as have the line operations it supports. But now the pressure is on, and it’s coming from the operating level, which makes it much harder to cling to old talent practices.
Co-Creating the Employee Experience
by Lisa Burrell
Companies that are adopting agile talent practices are giving a lot of thought to how employees experience the workplace—in some ways, treating them like customers. Diane Gherson, the chief human resources officer at IBM, recently spoke with HBR about how that’s playing out as the iconic tech company revamps its business model. Edited excerpts follow.
HBR: In what sense is IBM putting employee experience at the center of people management?
GHERSON: Like a lot of other companies, we started with the belief that if people felt great about working with us, our clients would too. That wasn’t a new thought, but it’s certainly one we took very seriously, going back about four or five years. We’ve since seen it borne out. We’ve found that employee engagement explains two-thirds of our client experience scores. And if we’re able to increase client satisfaction by five points on an account, we see an extra 20% in revenue, on average. So clearly there’s an impact. That’s the business case for the change.
But it has required a shift in mindset. Before, we tended to rely on experts to build our HR programs. Now we bring employees into the design process, co-create with them, and iterate over time so that we meet people’s needs.
Diane Gherson, IBM’s head of HR
What does that look like in practice?
A good example is employee onboarding—the first process we took a very hard look at. We knew we wanted people to walk out thinking, “I’m superexcited I’m here, and I understand what I need to know to get going.” But we started too small. We approached it in a traditional way that made it all about the orientation class, all about the experience you have on your first day. Once we began asking new hires how their onboarding had gone, we heard things like “I didn’t get my laptop on time,” or “I couldn’t get my credit card in time to get to my first meeting,” or “I had problems accessing the internal network.” All those things affect how someone feels about having joined the company.
Once you realize that, the remit for the onboarding team becomes how people experience the whole process, end to end. To get it right, you have to work with a broader set of players. You bring in Security to make sure the ID badges are there. You bring in Real Estate to make sure people have a physical space and know where to go. You bring in Networking to make sure their remote access is up and running. All that is part of onboarding. It’s not just having a great meeting with a bunch of other new hires on your first day.
It took a while for us to understand that. You have to broaden your scope and stop thinking in silos in order to create a great employee experience.
How has IBM’s approach to learning and development changed?
People consume content on their phones and tablets now—they use YouTube and TED talks to get up to speed on things they don’t know. So we had to put aside our traditional learning-management system and think differently about education and development. Again, we brought in our Millennials, brought in our users, and codesigned a learning platform that is individually personalized for every one of our 380,000 IBMers.
It’s tailored by role, with intelligent recommendations that are continually updated. And it’s organized sort of like Netflix, with different channels. You can see how others have rated the various offerings. There’s also a live-chat adviser, who helps learners in the moment.
We measure HR offerings such as learning with a Net Promoter Score—the ultimate metric for an irresistible experience. Before, we used a classic five-point satisfaction scale. Even if someone rated you a 3.1, you ended up saying they were satisfied, whereas with Net Promoter, you have to be at the far end of the scale for it to mean anything, because you have to subtract all the detractors. It’s much harder to get that, and it gives you much better feedback on what people are experiencing. For learning, at last count, our NPS was 60. That’s in the “excellent” range, but of course there’s still room to improve.
What kinds of tools do you use to customize learning?
With Watson Analytics, we’re able to infer people’s expertise from their digital footprint inside the company, and we compare that with where they should be in their particular job family. The system is cognitive, so it knows you—it has ingested the data about your skills and is able to give you personalized learning recommendations. It tells you, “OK, you need to increase your depth in these areas—and here are the offerings that will help you do that.” You can then pin those or queue them up in your calendar for future learning. The system also looks at how close you may be to earning a digital badge, which we’ve started using in just the past couple of years to demonstrate which employees have applied skills. The tool then helps you achieve the badge by recommending specific webinars and internal and external courses. It’s all based on artificial intelligence. Skills inference is at about 96% accuracy at this point.
“People are less likely to resist change when they’ve had a hand in shaping it.”
How do you know that?
We used to have this laborious manual process of getting people to fill out skills questionnaires and having their managers sign off on them. But that gets outdated really fast. So we stopped doing that. Instead, leaders in particular job families or industries do spot checks on how well we are inferring. They interview employees and identify where they are, comparing that with what the inference was in our system.
IBM has given its performance management system an overhaul as well. How have employees been involved in that process?
As you know, performance management is kind of a lightning rod in most companies. Rather than do the typical thing—which would be to do some benchmarking, pull together a bunch of experts, come up with a new design, and pilot it—we decided to go all out and co-create it with our employees in a sort of extended hackathon. We used design thinking and came up with what you might describe as a “concept car”—something for people to test drive and kick the tires on, instead of just dealing with concepts. We did that in the summer of 2015 and implemented it across the company five months later. That’s the power of engaging the whole workforce—people are much less likely to resist the change when they’ve had a hand in shaping it.
To start the co-creation process, I blogged about it one day and said, “We’d love your input. If you hate it, we’ll start over, no problem. But we really want your thoughts.” We made a few videos about what we thought it might look like. I got 18,000 responses overnight. Fortunately, we had the technology to analyze it all and see what people liked and didn’t like.
At first some people said, “This is such a sham—you already know what you want to do.” But we explained that we really wanted to hear from them, and we got them into various discussion forums. It took a while, but I think we did turn them around. We kept communicating, saying, “OK, you liked this; you didn’t like that. And here are areas where you can’t seem to agree.” Meanwhile, we were putting together prototypes to show people.
I was clear up front that there were some ground rules. For example, we were not going to get rid of performance discussions, and we wanted pay-for-performance. But in general, it was wide open. The whole process took less time than most companies take to redesign their performance management programs, and we involved about 100,000 employees. Finally, we asked, “What do you want to call it?” Tens of thousands of people voted. We had three names in the end, and Checkpoint was selected.
Performance management can never be perfect. But your baby is never ugly. Our employees created their own program, and there is pride in that. You can see it in their ongoing blogs, where we ask them to talk about what’s working and what’s not and to tell us how we can improve the system. We’ve been doing that ever since we put it out there. Their overall message has been “This is what we wanted.” It was cited as the top reason engagement improved. People are getting much more feedback out of this system, in much richer ways. And more important, they are not feeling like spectators in our transformation; they are active participants.
“We’ve been able to swiftly detect problems and commit to doing something about them.”
How are you using “sentiment analysis” to further address employees’ needs?
Sentiment analysis is very helpful in a world where people are always commenting online. Our cognitive technology looks at the words people choose and picks up the tone. It identifies whether it’s positive or negative and then goes deeper, saying whether it’s strongly positive or strongly negative. In that way it’s almost like looking at music—seeing where there are very high notes or very low notes that are loud. It’s always behind our firewall, never external. It’s not looking at any of the information people pass around or at their e-mail content or browsing behavior. It’s just looking at tone in their blogs and comments inside the firewall.
With this approach you can pick up pretty quickly if there’s an area you need to dive into. We’ve been able to swiftly detect problems that are starting to brew and, more important, make a commitment to do something about them. This is the most exciting part of having a social platform to work with. We’ve had several examples of things we did wrong. Some of my folks decided we wouldn’t reimburse for ridesharing. Employees became agitated, and I could quickly respond to a concern that had turned into a petition. “I read all your comments,” I told them, “and you made some great points we hadn’t thought of. We were trying to look out for your security, but on balance, this wasn’t the right choice. Let’s return to our original policy.” All this happened within 24 hours. People felt listened to and were very appreciative.
We had a similar situation about a year ago. We had to impute income when you were traveling to a client site for a full week and, instead of returning home right away, you had your spouse or a friend join you for the weekend. Because we would reimburse the guest’s travel, it created a tax issue. We altered the program because that was getting messy, and again employees were incensed. I can certainly understand why. If you’re on the road all the time, of course you might want your spouse to join you for a weekend. People didn’t want us making the decision for them. That was another case where we quickly got together and said, “Hey, if they want to be responsible for their own taxes, they can do it.” It was a good wake-up call for us to not be so paternalistic.
In organizations where people aren’t physically all together, you can use sentiment analysis to get a sense of where you’ve got trouble spots, where your management isn’t strong enough, where groups of people are expressing negative opinions. It allows you to check in on those sites or groups and find out what’s going on.
Do employees have more power now than in the past?
Yes. So much more weight is now given to what is said inside an organization, because it can be heard outside as well, through social media. Glassdoor is a perfect example. In the past you might have had companies that weren’t great to work for, but only a small circle of people knew about it. Now the whole world knows about it, because it’s on Glassdoor—and that’s turned companies into glass houses. People can look in and see what’s going on and make judgments about whether they want to work there in a way that they weren’t able to before.
Let’s go back to the business reasons behind IBM’s shift to agile talent practices—can you say more about those?
I mentioned client satisfaction. Clients today are looking for speed and responsiveness like never before. In an earlier era what they really wanted was the best product at the best price—efficiency was important, but speed was less so.
In the early 2000s we would have staffed a project with experts from all over the world, and they would have spent a fraction of their time on that project, because they were also working on other projects. They would have joined conference calls, which is always hard because people are in different time zones. And I’m sure they were multitasking while they were on those calls. That project might have taken six months to a year. Now we would take a smaller group of dedicated people and put them together for three months, and they would get it all done using agile methodology. It’s a different way of thinking about how to create value for clients. It responds to their need for speed.
Is there some hope that an agile approach to talent will help IBM make up ground in revenue and growth that it lost in its transition to cloud computing and other businesses?
We’re a company that’s transforming itself: 45% of our revenue comes from businesses we were not in five years ago, and we are an $80 billion company. When you’re going through that kind of shift and seeing a downturn in some of your legacy businesses, and you’re renovating those while you’re launching new businesses, you may see some unevenness in performance. You’re basically changing the tires while you’re driving the car. And yes, that takes agility.
One Bank’s Agile Team Experiment
by Dominic Barton，Dennis Carey & Ram Charan
When web and mobile technologies disrupted the banking industry, consumers became more and more aware of what they could do for themselves. They quickly embraced what Ralph Hamers, CEO of the global banking group ING, calls “banking on the go.”
By 2014 about 40% of all interactions with ING retail customers were coming in through mobile apps. (Now the figure is closer to 60%—and branch visits and calls to contact centers have dropped below 1%.) Even then mobile customers expected easy access to up-to-date information whenever and wherever they logged in. For instance, someone who started a loan transaction during the train ride home from work wanted to be able to continue it on a desktop that night. “Our customers were spending most of their online time on platforms like Facebook and Netflix,” says Hamers. “Those set the standard for user experience.”
That meant ING needed to become nimbler and more user-focused to serve its 30 million–plus customers across the world at every point in their financial journeys. So Hamers worked with Nick Jue, then the CEO of ING’s Netherlands group, to launch a pilot transformation in the headquarters of ING’s largest unit, its Dutch retail operations. The first step was to help other senior leaders and the board envision a new agile, team-based system for deploying, developing, and assessing talent. (ING had already adopted agile and scrum methodologies in its Dutch IT unit, but those ways of working were new to other parts of the organization.) Hamers and his leadership team then met with people at tech companies they admired, learning how their talent systems enabled better customer service. By the spring of 2015 the headquarters of ING Netherlands, home to some 3,500 full-time employees, had replaced most of its traditional structure with a fluid, agile organization composed of tribes, squads, and chapters.
Tribes, Squads, and Chapters
Thirteen tribes were created to address specific domains, such as mortgage services, securities, and private banking. Each tribe contains up to 150 people. (Employees in sales, service, and support functions work outside this structure—in smaller customer-loyalty teams, for instance—but they collaborate with the tribes.) And each has a lead who establishes priorities, allocates budgets, and ensures that knowledge and insights are shared both within and across tribes.
The tribe lead has one other critical responsibility: to create, with input from tribe members, self-steering squads of nine or fewer people to address specific customer needs by delivering and maintaining new products and services. These squads are cross-disciplinary—typically, a mix of marketing specialists, data analysts, user-experience designers, IT engineers, and product specialists. One squad member is designated the “product owner,” responsible for coordinating activities and setting priorities. The squad stays together as long as is required to meet the customer need from start to finish—whether it is, for example, improving user experience on the mobile app or building a particular feature. Some tasks are completed in two weeks; others might take 18 months. Sometimes the squads disband and the members join other ones. Most often, however, squads that are working well stay together and move on to address other customer needs.
By working in such small units and with colleagues from various disciplines, squad members can quickly resolve issues that might previously have bounced from department to department. Information sharing is encouraged through mechanisms such as scrums and daily stand-ups—the kinds of gatherings you’d find at a tech start-up. Seeing a project through from start to finish gives each squad a sense of ownership and connection to the customer.
Implementing an agile talent system doesn’t mean embracing chaos. In fact, a system that’s well designed observes clearly defined rules and safeguards to ensure institutional stability. Every tribe, for example, has a couple of agile coaches to help squads and individuals collaborate effectively in an environment where employees are encouraged to solve problems on the ground rather than pass them on to someone else. Although you might think adapting would be most difficult for long-term bank employees, that’s not so, according to ING Netherlands CIO Peter Jacobs. Many of them “adapted even more quickly and more readily than the younger generation,” he says, perhaps because their expertise now has more impact than in the past, when so many sign-offs were required.
Working in small, cross-functional units, squads can resolve issues quickly.
Then there are the chapters, which coordinate members of the same discipline—data analytics, say, or systems processes—who are scattered among squads. Chapter leads are responsible for tracking and sharing best practices and for such things as professional development and performance reviews. Think of chapters as a way of retaining the helpful parts of traditional management even while dispensing with time-consuming handoffs and bureaucracy.
Regular assessments are built into the system. Every two weeks squads review their work. Says Hamers, “They get to decide how they will continue to improve the product for our customers, or if they want to ‘fail fast.’” (Learning from failure is applauded.) Squads also do a thorough self-assessment after completing any engagement, and tribes perform quarterly business reviews (QBRs), looking at their biggest successes and failures, reviewing their most important learnings, and articulating goals for the next three months.
These safeguards help counter what Vincent van den Boogert, the current CEO of ING Netherlands (and part of the team that launched the new organizational structure), sees as the two biggest challenges of a squad-based system. One is the possibility that self-empowered squads responding primarily to the needs of customers might embark on changes that aren’t in sync with company strategy. The QBRs mitigate that risk. The second challenge is somewhat counterintuitive. Self-evaluating squads are sometimes content with the incremental improvements they make every two weeks. The QBRs help in that regard, too, because top management uses them to formulate and reinforce stretch goals.
More than two years in, Hamers considers the talent experiment a big success. Customer satisfaction and employee engagement are both up, and ING is quicker to market with new products. So the bank has started to roll out this new way of working to the roughly 40,000 employees outside its home country. For Hamers, the change can’t come soon enough. The apps for each of ING’s 13 retail markets vary in appearance, design, and function. Hamers wants to make things much simpler so that any customer, anywhere, will encounter the same ING. “Tech companies have one platform across the globe,” he says. “No matter where you use Netflix, Facebook, or Google, you get the same service. ING must do the same. That is the only way we will bring all our customers along into the future of banking.”
Josh Bersin：2018年人力资源技术：比以往更加智能化 HR Technology for 2018 - More Intelligent than Ever
Josh Bersin是德勤咨询（Deloitte Consulting LLP）Bersin™的负责人和创始人。本文件中使用的“Deloitte”是Deloitte LLP的子公司Deloitte Consulting LLP。请参阅www.deloitte.com/us/about，了解我们法律结构的详细说明。根据公共会计规则和条例，某些服务可能无法向证明客户提供。
Almost every HR vendor I talk with claims to have artificial intelligence (AI)-based solutions, predictive analytics, chatbots or some other form of algorithmic solution to make HR better. As I've learned about all these products and started to see them in action, let me give you tips on what to look for.
In the recruitment market, data is really driving our future. Thanks to the ubiquitous nature of social networks and dozens of intelligent sourcing and assessment tools, our research shows, AI is creating significant value. As you search for new recruiting tools (sourcing, candidate assessment, intelligent chatbots and mobile recruiting platforms), ask the vendor to show you how its AI works. Ask to see how decisions are made and for examples of where it might apply to you. These vendors are well ahead of the learning curve, and the value will become clear to you.
In the learning and development market, many learning management system (LMS) platforms, learning experience platforms, and micro-learning platforms now use AI and an algorithmic solution to recommend content, curate content and guide learners through the most appropriate content to learn. Many of these vendors have extensive experience analyzing the best path through content, the right time to view the next content and even the right learning module to view based on your confidence in your understanding of the subject matter. Learning activity data is now available through the Experience API, or xAPI (a way to record and track everything you click on while learning), so all these vendors are becoming "intelligent."
In the employee engagement and survey market, the same AI wave is coming. A flurry of vendors whose products started as engagement and pulse survey tools now provide text analytics, sentiment analysis, word clouds and intelligent assessment of employee sentiment. Several of them can measure trust networks and use organizational network analysis to identify trusted people in your network and even point out areas of potential fraud or bad behavior. While none of this software is perfect, it's better than trying to read every comment individually and can certainly give managers a better idea of how they stack up against their peers.
In the performance management market, software for continuous performance management now provides activity streams, public and private comments, and organizational network analysis by looking at the patterns of feedback you get on the job. In time, these platforms will recommend learning and coaching to managers, and some do this already.
In the area of employee self-service and case management, the platforms are also getting smarter. Not only can you now chat with your employee system online (or through your messaging system), you can send it messages ("Book my vacation day on Friday") and the system will perform a transaction. Soon, it will actually make recommendations to you on what courses to take, how to slow down and relax, and other employee benefits.
I could go on and on. It feels like the words "AI" and "intelligent" have been included on most HR tools in the market, and more and more of this is starting to work.
While all this is positive and definitely making our work lives easier, let me also give you a warning: AI is not magic; it is simply highly refined statistics and mathematical models that try to predict and recommend action based on a mass amount of data. If you don't have enough data, the AI may not be as useful. So as exciting as it sounds, I recommend you ask the vendor to give you a real-world demo and talk with as many references as you can.
There's no question in my mind that AI, predictive analytics, sentiment analytics, visual recognition and natural language interfaces are maturing far faster than we expected. All of this will impact our HR technologies. Just make sure that whatever you buy really fits your needs and that the "intelligence" you implement is intelligent in the areas of need for your organization.
Josh Bersin is principal and founder, Bersin™, Deloitte Consulting LLP. As used in this document, "Deloitte" means Deloitte Consulting LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of our legal structure. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.
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